Women’s Basketball Dominates Way to A-10 Championship Game


The Fordham women’s basketball team is just one win away from an Atlantic 10 Conference title. (Courtesy of Eric Schelkun)

By Jack McLoone

A team can’t enter the postseason much hotter than on a nine-game winning streak. Fordham Women’s Basketball hasn’t cooled off either, turning in two dominant performances in its first two games of the A-10 Championships to advance to the championship.

After securing a first-round bye, the Rams played UMass in the quarterfinals, a rematch of a Rams win just under two weeks prior. It also ended almost exactly the same, with the Rams winning by 11, 73-62 (as compared to by 12 in the regular season).

The Rams might have had a little rust in the first quarter, wrapping up the high-offense frame down two, 17-15. However, the Rams’ offense exploded in the second quarter to the tune of 30 points to UMass’ 17.

With 8:42 remaining in the first half, senior forward Mary Goulding converted a three-point play after getting fouled to put the Rams up 21-19. They never trailed again and pushed the lead to as much as 16 multiple times over the rest of the game.

While the Rams had built a considerable lead, the Minutemen finally started to punch back in the waning moments of the game. With 4:16 left, Destiney Philoxy made a layup that kicked off an 11-2 run where they pulled it within six with 1:15 left to play.

On the next Rams’ possession, Goulding hit a dagger three to put the Rams up nine, 71-62. It was a season-high 13th three for the Rams as a whole.

Goulding and redshirt sophomore guard Bre Cavanaugh lived up to their recent A-10 All-Conference team honors, scoring 24 and 29 points, respectively. The 29 points were a new season-high for Cavanaugh.

Goulding also pulled down 10 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the year. The 24 points match a career-high.

If the quarterfinal game was a dominant performance, the semi-final was a pure rout driven by the defense. Facing off against the three-seed and host Duquesne Dukes, the Fordham defense kept Duquesne from scoring double-digit points in all but one quarter, and the Rams won 76-34.

The game was essentially decided just one quarter in. The Rams hit six threes in the frame, half of which came from Cavanaugh, who added another jumper for 11 points. Sophomore guard Kendell Heremaia also hit two threes in the quarter. The Rams outscored the Dukes 26-9 in the first quarter.

The second quarter was much the same, with the Rams pouring on another 20 to the Dukes’ seven. The Rams entered halftime up 30 points, 46-16, and with a large number of reserves having already seen the court.

While the scoring output and defense let up a bit in the second half, that was mostly due to the starters not playing as much. Goulding, Heremaia and freshman starting forward Kaitlyn Downey played just nine minutes in the second half, while Cavanaugh played 14 and senior guard Lauren Holden played 15. For most of the bench players, it was the first time they had seen game action since the Rams’ 60-48 win over Richmond on Jan. 9.

The Rams tied their season-high for made threes that they set just the day before by making another 13. Cavanaugh and Goulding once again led the way, with both scoring 19 points apiece and going 3-5 from three.

It will be a battle of the Rams in the A-10 Championship when Fordham takes on Virginia Commonwealth University, the team Fordham shared its regular season title with. Their lone regular season matchup came on Jan. 16, which Fordham lost 47-44 thanks to giving up 23 points in the third quarter after building a 13-point lead at the half. In other words, it was a game the Rams of Fordham certainly could have won.

The A-10 Championship — which will likely determine the conference’s lone NCAA Tournament participant — will be on Sunday, March 10 at noon.